This week I found myself visiting a rodeo event - I have never seen so many poops in one place - a recipe of cow and horse defecation melded together in copious amounts; I walked around the arena like a man standing in a minefield - I lost my shoe twice! Perhaps in retrospect a suit and tie were not the best attire for such an event, but I had never been to a rodeo before and thought it to be a night out.
Patriotism was in abundance as the rhetoric of American fervor (being the greatest and the best) was shoveled on in thick amounts, as the Stars and Stripes were paraded before all; then a small teenage girl tried to do justice to the national anthem (unaccompanied) and fell flat in several places (to give her full credit the song has a range of one and a half octaves and must be the most difficult of any national anthem to sing). The charged-up host then stirred the atmosphere further by asking for any veterans of the Second World War to stand up – to receive a round of appreciative applause. An elderly looking Japanese guy behind me looked unsure whether to rise or not, but remained embarrassingly seated.
The first event of the night, once we had got past the racist jokes of the in-house clown (that made me think the 1980s had never happened) was the children’s bull ride. A gate flew open and an arthritic one-eyed bull with a pronounced limp stood there bored and chewing cud (is there a bovine equivalent for Alzheimer’s disease?) The smallest children sat on its back motionless with one hand in the air, frozen in motion for ten seconds – then a buzzer sounded and everybody clapped. I wonder if one volunteers for a rodeo or whether you just get roped-in?
What I took away from the evening’s proceedings was the notion that if you have not fallen off a horse, then you have not been riding long enough.